Nick on Politics: Natural Resources Police, Part II

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Nick on Politics: Natural Resources Police, Part II

Calvert County, MD - 3/12/2013

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By Nick Garrett

After the complete outpouring from last weeks’ article here regarding the understaffing issues of the natural resources police, the proverbial stuff has hit the fan. It has compelled me to follow up on the matter. As it turns out the Governor’s Office has been silent on the matter of SB 208 Natural Resources Police Number of Officers. As I alluded to last week the report call Natural Resources Police, Level of Service Standards is what DNR is using to move forward and make their “fixes” to the issue of understaffing in the police force. Here is where it gets good.

Since last week’s article the Department of Natural Resources testified on a bill that they would like to see passed called, “Police Officer Certification, Exemption for the Natural Resources Police” which would basically reduce the NRP even further and allow for a part-time force of barely trained high schoolers. Yes, I did say high schoolers, and allow them to take the place of the full-time adequately trained officers. Thank GOD that the FOP opposed DNR on this legislation. 

What has become apparent is that DNR wants to do away with the Natural Resources Police as we know them and replace with seasonal cadets. What about the vast responsibilities the current NRP has? The first responder mandates! The 9,000 Homeland Security Sweeps! SB 208 is motivated by the NRP officers working in the field who are telling us that they do not have enough officers to fulfill the responsibilities we have given them? They are not asking for fancy gadgets or asking us to replace the equipment that has been taken from them over the last decade.

It is getting increasingly confusing in trying to understand what Maryland is doing with their conservation law enforcement body. The only bill in this process that actually adds to the NRP force numbers so they can do their jobs is SB 208. If you have an interest in this, now is the time to stand up and be heard. The current proposal from the Department of Natural Resources will completely change the face of the NRP, reduce its effectiveness, and leave in its wake a large void.



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